Turkey’s President Recep Tayipp Erdogan said the country was aiming to become militarily self-sufficient and said it would not be long before the country built its own aircraft carrier.
Erdogan made the comments during a speech at a naval ceremony to launch the locally manufactured Kinaliada Corvette in Tuzla near Istanbul.
The corvette was locally manufactured under Turkey’s MILGEM project. MILGEM is an abbreaviation in Turkish for “national ship.”
“We will build our own aircraft carriers,” he said.
Erdogan added Turkey will not tolerate attempts to block its military initiatives.
“As a country that aims to become independent in the field of defence by 2023, we must move even faster,” he said.
“We are proud of our ability to build military ships, especially construction of submarines,” he said, adding that Turkey was among the 10 countries in the world capable of designing and manufacturing naval vessels.
Erdogan said 14 projects for the construction of naval vessels were in the pipeline, while 10 more projects will be signed in the coming years.
He said the Turkish government attached great importance to the navy’s ability to deal with any potential threats that might develop in the region.
Referring to arms manufacturing, he said: “In 2016, Turkey achieved $5 billion in production and $1.6 billion in exports, which is important but well below our targets,” he said.